Last updated on 14 March 2008
Nutrition Strategy Steering Group: Minutes of meeting 10 January 2008
Fourth Meeting, Aviation House, London
Dame Deirdre Hutton,
Salman Amin (PepsiCo),
Alexander Macara (NHF),
Gavin Neath (Unilever),
David Reid (Tesco),
Larry Whitty (NCC),
Rosemary Hignett, Corinne Vaughan (FSA),
Will Cavendish, Clara Swinson, Simon Medcalf (DH)
Introduction and Apologies
Dawn Primarolo welcomed all members to the fourth meeting of the Group.
Apologies were received from Steven Esom (M&S), David Cheesewright (Asda), Peter Vicary-Smith (Which?) and Justin King (Sainsbury’s).
Actions arising from previous meeting
These had all been completed.
Cross Government Obesity Strategy
i. This strategy was being prepared for publication later in January. The PM was strongly committed to this strategy and all Government Departments would play their part. The proposed approach was to lay out a set of ambitions and policy announcements covering the major drivers of the obesity epidemic.
- Children: healthy growth and healthy weight – focusing on interventions along a child’s development, from ante-natal right through to school.
- Promoting healthier food choices – challenging the food industry to build on progress already made.
- Building physical activity into our lives – greater investment in the promotion of and support for cycling, walking, recreational activity, and reforming planning and transport guidance to include health impacts as a key determinant of success.
- Creating incentives for better health – challenging employers to promote the health of their employees, with the public sector taking a lead.
- Effective, personalised care for overweight and obese individuals and families – charging PCTs with commissioning high quality programmes of support.
ii. The strategy included development with industry of a Healthy Food Code of Practice setting out what industry could do to encourage healthier choices. The intention was to create a partnership between Government and industry to help England be the first country to achieve a reduction in the rate of rise in obesity.
iii. The Group welcomed this approach. All members were keen to play their part in the partnership and stressed the need to identify the concrete outcomes industry was expected to deliver. There must be proper account taken of the needs of vulnerable groups and the role of social marketing. Adoption of a voluntary approach should not preclude legislation in due course, if necessary.
iv. It was agreed that NSSG could act as a focal point for developing the provisions of the Code. This might require more frequent meetings and/or sub-groups. DDH offered to speak to Members individually to gather ideas on how this might best be done.
v. It was agreed that the next meeting of NSSG should be in March/ April, after publication, to discuss the specific proposals. Any pre-publication feedback should go to Will Cavendish.
vi. MS(PH) left the meeting at this point to attend to parliamentary business.
DDH to contact Members individually
Secretariat to organise meeting in March/April.
Members to make any immediate comments to DH
Independent signpost evaluation study
i. Written responses from the Project Management Panel (PMP) to Members. Comments on the study design had been circulated on 19 December.
ii. The study was being commissioned with BMRB and would commence shortly. Copies of the research questionnaire and discussion guide would be provided for information in due course.
iii. A press release would be provided prior to its publication in w/c 14 January.
Saturated fat and energy intake programme
iv. The Agency would publish a summary of responses to the Saturated Fat and Energy Intake Programme consultation on the website, along with an outline of future plans in this area, later in January.
v. Key areas of progress were:
- The Agency had commissioned consumer research into the style and content of messaging on saturated fat that will appeal to consumers. This had highlighted the need for an initiative that simultaneously raised awareness and gave people the tools they need to reduce intakes. The research findings would be published shortly.
- The Agency continued to liaise with food industry representatives. An industry partnership group had been set up to look into reformulation of dairy products. This was the first of several such groups. Additional partnerships that were currently being considered included meat products, biscuits and cakes, confectionery and a specific retailer group.
vi. GN was leading the dairy products group, which he indicated saw scope for progress although different approaches would be needed for different foods. There were worthwhile gains to be achieved.
vii. The review of the salt targets published in 2006 had commenced on 20th December 2007 with a stakeholder meeting. A programme of sector specific meetings was due to follow throughout January, February and March to assess progress towards the salt targets and overall progress towards the Agency’s population target of 6g. The Agency hoped to publish a consultation document and any proposed revisions to the targets in summer 2008.
viii. JK had provided written comments highlighting some of the difficulties in collating data on 85 product categories. In addition, some categories he felt targets could not go lower. He also identified a number of additions to the food categories which could usefully be included, and highlighted the need to include foodservice.
ix. It was agreed that these were important points that needed to be taken into account in the review.
FSA to take account of these comments in salt target review.
Healthier Eating in the Workplace
i. Further progress had been achieved on this issue since it was discussed at the Group’s June meeting. The paper summarised the meetings held between the Agency and the participating companies, and the positive work both planned and already underway in those companies. It also described the Agency’s ongoing work with the major providers of contract catering in the workplace, and proposed future work in this area.
ii. The paper proposed that a series of case studies be published, documenting projects to deliver healthy eating in the workplace and agreement was sought from NSSG members. This would provide a means to recognise the progress made by those companies, and to serve as examples to others of the nature of action that is possible in what is a diverse range of workplace settings. Publication along these lines would also allow the Agency to draw together the outputs from this work in a manner that would contribute to the Agency’s ongoing strategy for engagement with catering businesses; and in turn support and contribute to work by others in Government (notably the Well@Work initiative) and more widely.
iii. There was support for using the expertise created in the case studies led by Group members to disseminate good practice to other businesses and the public sector, including the NHS. DH suggested that FSA could help the food industry to put together a taskforce of experts to take this forward. SA agreed to take this suggestion back to FDF for consideration.
DDH asked members to agree to publish a case study of their companies' projects.
SA to respond to FSA suggestion of joint FSA/ industry taskforce to disseminate good practice on workplace catering.
Update on FSA’s Nutrient profiling (NP) Review
i. The paper outlined progress to date on the Agency’s review of the nutrient profiling model, which was used by Ofcom to differentiate high fat, salt and sugar foods from other foods, in order to improve the balance of food advertising to children.
ii. An independent panel had been convened by the Agency to take forward the review.
iii. The Review Panel had met with stakeholders in October to hear their views on practical and technical issues associated with the model. Stakeholders had also been invited to submit issues they wished the Panel to consider via a 6-week evidence gathering exercise. The Panel were currently considering those issues raised, with a view to identifying whether any refinements to the model were needed. The Panel’s draft recommendations would be subject to a 12-week consultation in 2008. Final recommendations were expected to be considered by the Agency board in early 2009.
iv. JK had submitted written comments about the application of NP to advertisements for recipes. RH indicated this issue had been considered by the Review Panel who wanted further discussion before reaching a view. Therefore this would be one of the issues discussed at an academic workshop to be held by the Panel on 28 February.
Agenda items for next meeting
The focus would be on the obesity strategy and the role of NSSG is taking forward the Healthy Food Code of Practice.
There were none.